Environmental Civil Remedies

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Revision Of Coal Mining Permit By Environmental Group Results In Attorney Fee Award

In Black Mesa v. Jewell, 2015 DJDAR 1050, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that an environmental group was entitled to an award of attorney fees arising out of their challenge to the Office...more

A $6 Million Reminder to Observe Corporate Formalities: Environmental Prosecutors Pierce Another Corporate Veil with Ohio Decision

With ever-growing concern about environmental liability exposures, many shareholders rely on corporate structures – both simple and complex – to help insulate themselves from direct responsibility for the acts and omissions...more

District Court Imposes Divisibility Cap on Superfund Liability

A Wisconsin district court has ruled that NCR Corporation’s liability for contamination in the Fox River is limited to NCR’s share of contamination contributed to the river....more

PRP in CERCLA Enforcement Action Saves Millions of Dollars with Successful Divisibility Defense

Action Item: On March 15, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in United States v. NCR Corp., No. 10-C-910 (E.D. Wis. May 15, 2015), held that a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) at...more

Are Concurrent CERCLA Claims For Section 107(a) Cost Recovery and Section 113(f) Contribution Permissible?

Given the uncertainties after Cooper Industries v. Aviall about what cause of action a PRP has for recovering response costs under CERCLA, many parties take the prudent course of pleading claims under both for cost recovery...more

Environmental Alert: "Potential Seismic Activity from Injection Wells Prompts Railroad Commission of Texas to Order Hearings"

On Friday, April 24, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) ordered hearings regarding two waste injection well permits. The hearings are to address an alleged connection between the injection wells and seismic activity in...more

Abuse of Discretion Not Shown By Court’s Failure To “Show Its Arithmetic” in Significantly Reducing Claimed Attorney Fees in CEQA...

In Save Our Uniquely Rural Community Environment v. County of San Bernardino, __ Cal.App.4th ___, 2015 WL 1259781 (4th Dist., Div. 2, 2015) (SOURCE) , the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s decision...more

Winners Beware – Fourth District Upholds Trial Court’s Discretion To Drastically Reduce Successful CEQA Plaintiff’s Fees In...

In an opinion filed March 18 and belatedly ordered published on April 13, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a trial court’s discretion to award only $19,176 in attorneys’ fees under Code of Civil Procedure §...more

Ninth Circuit Widens Judges’ Discretion to Allocate CERCLA Contribution Damages

Trial court may select the method of accounting for prior settlement in allocating response costs among liable parties, but claims to recover settlement payments are limited to costs consistent with the National Contingency...more

Ninth Circuit Addresses Several CERCLA Issues of First Impression in the Circuit

In AmeriPride Services Inc. v. Texas Eastern Overseas Inc., the Ninth Circuit examined several issues under CERCLA, some of which were issues of first impression in the Circuit, including: - Whether a district court...more

UPDATE: Citadel Dumps Challenge to San Benito County Hydraulic Fracturing Ban

Citadel Exploration has abandoned its legal challenge to San Benito County’s Measure J, a voter-sponsored initiative that banned several enhanced recovery methods of extracting oil and gas, including hydraulic fracturing and...more

NBB Petitions EPA For Reconsideration And Stay Of CARBIO Approval

On March 30, 2015, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) submitted a petition to EPA seeking reconsideration and a request for stay of EPA's approval of the Argentinian Camara Argentina de Biocombustibles (CARBIO) Alternative...more

Allocating The Liability Shares of Settling PRPs Under CERCLA

Allocation of liability under CERCLA can get messy. One particularly complex issue arises in a private cost recovery action where some but not all the PRPs have settled with the private party. In contrast to a government...more

Class Action Lawsuit Claims Wines Contain Unsafe Levels of Arsenic

Four California residents brought a lawsuit earlier this month against 28 wineries for producing, manufacturing or distributing wine in California that allegedly contains inorganic arsenic in amounts far in excess of what is...more

Dividing CERCLA Site Just Won't Cut It On Liability

In an order on March 3, U.S. District Judge William C. Griesbach, who is presiding over the long-running Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act litigation concerning the Lower Fox River and...more

Illinois Supreme Court Declines to Apply Environmental Injunction Retroactively

In July 2004, the Illinois legislature amended the state Environmental Protection Act to authorize the Attorney General to seek “an injunction, prohibitory or mandatory, to restrain violations . . . or to require such other...more

Is Injunctive Relief Available Against Former Owners? At Least One Judge Thinks So.

As we noted in 2013, two different Courts of Appeal had ruled that injunctive relief is not available in PSD/NSR enforcement cases against former owners. Both United States v. Midwest Generation and United States v. EME...more

Washington District Court Holds that CERCLA Displaces Federal Common Law Public Nuisance Claims

A Washington district court has recently held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) displaces federal common law public nuisance claims for damages. (Anderson v. Teck...more

CERCLA’s Confusion Between Section 107 and Section 113

Over a decade after the Supreme Court’s decision in Cooper Industries v. Aviall, the divide between CERCLA Section 107 cost recovery claims and Section 113 contribution claims remains unsettled. PRPs incurring response costs...more

Beware of Citizen Suits for Storm Water Violations

In recent months several private organizations have sent letters to California businesses informing them that they are in violation of their storm water permits and threatening to sue them under the citizen suit provision of...more

Is It Too Late to Just Throw Superfund to the Curb?

Last week, Judge Paul Borman of the Eastern District of Michigan, allowed a motion by the United States for judgment on the pleadings, dismissing a third-party complaint brought against the United States by Michigan...more

Russia: Environmental Liability for Off-Shore Oil and Gas Operations

Russian off-shore subsoil use operations: status and perspectives - After Rosneft's recent discovery of substantial light oil and gas reserves at the Universitetskaya-1 well in the Kara Sea, regular development of...more

Undisclosed Change in Building Height Requires Supplemental EIR

Ventura Foothill Neighbors v. County of Ventura (12/15/14, 2d Civil No. B254120) - The Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District of California has ruled that (i) a 20% increase in the actual height of a...more

New Jersey High Court Rejects Application of Six-Year Statute of Limitations to Spill Act Private Contribution Claims for...

In Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co., the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a six-year statute of limitations does not apply to private claims for contribution of costs incurred to remediate contaminated...more

The Need For Expert Evidence To Make Out An Innocent Landowner Defense Under CERCLA

As every litigator knows, evidence almost always tells a story that is untidy and riddled with loose ends. This was illustrated by a recent innocent landowner case in California — Coppola v. Smith. There, a company had...more

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